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The epistemological foundations of music piracy in the digital marketplace

Kepple-Palmer, Marcus; Carruthers, Janet; Davies, Clayton; Parry, Glenn; Keppel-Palmer, Marcus

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Marcus Kepple-Palmer

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Clayton Davies
Senior Lecturer in Strategy & Enterprise Mgmt

Glenn Parry
Associate Lecturer - BAM


This paper examines the fundamental epistemological gap between the consumers and producers of digitally based products. Using the music industry and the significance of digital products in this arena as a case study of evolving relationships between buyers and sellers, we evaluate the nature of 'piracy' from multiple perspectives: creators, intermediaries, distributors, and end consumers. Our study centres on the epistemological boundaries of these agents and actors, using existing evidence and qualitative research to examine the nature and limits of the epistemological reach of agents and actors in this digital marketplace. Our theoretical model is an adapted and applied version of Domain-Generality and Domain-Specificity in Personal Epistemology. We find a series of epistemological dissonances, driven by differing levels of understanding about (and access to) the underlying technological, legal, and social structures of an evolving marketplace. As a result of instability, these structures inevitably create various epistemological boundaries. Using the developed analytical framework, the case study of music piracy illustrates how identifying epistemological dissonance helps sellers develop strategies that could minimize the impact of piracy on their revenue streams.


Kepple-Palmer, M., Carruthers, J., Davies, C., Parry, G., & Keppel-Palmer, M. (2015). The epistemological foundations of music piracy in the digital marketplace. Foresight and STI Governance, 9(4), 42-53.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 10, 2014
Publication Date Jan 1, 2015
Deposit Date Nov 3, 2016
Publicly Available Date Mar 15, 2017
Journal Foresight and STI Governance
Print ISSN 1995-459X
Electronic ISSN 2312-9972
Publisher National Research University Higher School of Economics
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 4
Pages 42-53
Keywords music piracy, digital marketplace, personal epistemology, domain-generality, domain-specifity, epistemological gap, congruous beliefs, incongruous beliefs
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